It’s jarring to come off the worship of Advent season and land in January. A week after Christmas, we turn off the carols and snap on the workout track. We rush as quickly as possible toward productivity. We dream that our lofty goals will produce the perfect version of ourselves. Frantically, we scrawl habits that will make us as successful as possible in the shortest amount of time. If only we could turn over a new leaf, we would become as flawless as is humanly achievable! We attempt to shove down our own human frailties to claw our way to the pedestal of who we can become.
Oh, but January is hard. Our resolutions are interrupted by sick babies in the flu season. Snow days force us into the stillness of hibernation. We attempt to refocus our sights on the sweaty-faced trainers screaming “don’t give up on yourself now!” on the screens of our tv. The package of kale goes bad in the refrigerator. As one grey January day dissolves into the next, the willpower we mustered in our hearts begins to melt.
Don’t Forget Advent
What if we allowed the truths we learned in December to transform our hearts in January?
Advent is the celebration of Christ fulfilling the promise to return, our rest in the work he has done for us, and the anticipation of his coming again to make all things new. During Advent, we remind ourselves that He alone lived a perfect life. We rejoice that He gave himself to sacrificial death in order to purchase our salvation.
We gathered with people we love to remember perfect love given for us and the unity we will celebrate in eternity. Our homes were filled with the bounty of his goodness as the smells of baking drifted through our homes. Twinkling lights illuminated the darkness of the shortened days and struck in our hearts an awe in awareness of the one who lights the darkness of the world.
All that we learned and celebrated just last month doesn’t end on December 25. It transforms our entire year.
How Advent Transforms January…and Beyond
During his earthly ministry, Jesus set an example of rest, time away to pray, and trust that the work he would do on the cross would complete the promise made to Adam and Eve in the garden. He didn’t need everyone to know the whole plan right away. He didn’t rush to die on the cross 24 hours after Adam and Ever were barred from Eden. He didn’t start preaching as soon as he could talk. He didn’t set an example of pushing himself to accomplish as much as he could during his time on the earth. His very life shows us the way of rest and trust in the Father.
Winter, the season after Advent, is such a beautiful time for stillness. Our hearts were just transformed by the remembrance of why he came to earth and the promise that he will come again. How would it look if we allowed that peace to leak into our reality? What would it look like to rest in the perfection of Christ for us, instead of clawing our way to our “best life” in our own strength?…